Playful Discovery: Exploring an Artist Project by Lenka Clayton

I'd like to share an artist project by Lenka Clayton. Take your time to scroll through to the bottom, and we'll chat.

50 Library Books 2014 / sculpture / loaned library books / photo: Tom Little, library assistance: Tina Mastroianni The maximum allowed number of library books are checked out of a local library in numerical order according to their titles.

50 Library Books

2014 / sculpture / loaned library books / photo: Tom Little, library assistance: Tina Mastroianni

The maximum allowed number of library books are checked out of a local library in numerical order according to their titles.

Lenka Clayton's work provides us the opportunity to talk about ways people explore collections. This stack of books became a collection when Clayton extracted them from the library catalog and from their places in the stacks.

32 Cadillacs, 31 Dates in 31 Days, and Thirty-three Teeth. Where else, other than this artist project, are these books linked? What can be gained from linking them, or from recording that Clayton's searching built conceptual connections among these books? Perhaps the materiality, texture, and cultural significance of popular reading, however, in relation to ebrowsing, it is useful as a way to imagine the value of providing pathways among seemingly unrelated items.

Reading and scrolling through her tower of books, we see her lens applied to a collection, and we notice how she makes use of an established boundary, the maximum number of books that one may check out from the local library. She pushes up against this boundary, making it visible and giving it weight and heft. What if we were able to build tools that encouraged this kind of expansive, playful way of exploring across disciplinary boundaries?

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Kate Joranson

Business Reference Librarian, Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh Kate Joranson studied art at the University of Wisconsin, earned her MFA at Ohio State University, and an MLIS at the University of Pittsburgh. As both a librarian and an artist, she enjoys the accidental nature of looking for one thing, and finding something else. As a blogger, she cultivates collisions and connections among seemingly disparate interests. Snow drifts, messy kitchens, market research, and pink scaffolding are all topics you may encounter on her blog, where she explores search engines as a medium. Also: small business owner, gardener, knitter.